Caprica and the ‘Queerness’ of Sam Adama

March 1, 2010

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Anita Sarkeesian

Executive Director and Buffy the Vampire Slayer Enthusiast

In the new SyFy show Caprica we are introduced to a queer character, Sam Adama. Here is the good and the bad of his queer representation.

Check out other great blogs and commentary:

  • Be sure to check out InfoMania’s That’s Gay “Homo-Cidal Maniacs” for more examples of this trope.
  • “Ron Moore wants to include more gay characters in his shows.  That is fine.  Now, if he could just stop making them of a certain type.  So far, we have: Cylon Saboteurs and mentally insane Admirals, mutineers, cold-blooded Mafia-esque hitmen (here in Caprica, one of the Adama clan), and cold-blooded fanatical terrorists (Soldiers of the One in Caprica).” from “10 Brief Notes about Caprica”  (I took out the character names for Battlestar Galactica in case of Spoilers)
  • 300: This is Revisionism is a remix about the movie 300. A section of it comments on the trope of homosexuality as manipulative evil.

 

For full video transcript click here >>

In the new SyFy show Caprica we are introduced to a queer character, Sam Adama. Here is the good and the bad of his queer representation.

Check out other great blogs and commentary:

  • Be sure to check out InfoMania’s That’s Gay “Homo-Cidal Maniacs” for more examples of this trope.
  • “Ron Moore wants to include more gay characters in his shows.  That is fine.  Now, if he could just stop making them of a certain type.  So far, we have: Cylon Saboteurs and mentally insane Admirals, mutineers, cold-blooded Mafia-esque hitmen (here in Caprica, one of the Adama clan), and cold-blooded fanatical terrorists (Soldiers of the One in Caprica).” from “10 Brief Notes about Caprica”  (I took out the character names for Battlestar Galactica in case of Spoilers)
  • 300: This is Revisionism is a remix about the movie 300. A section of it comments on the trope of homosexuality as manipulative evil.

 

Transcript

Caprica is a new show in the SyFy Network that is actually set 58 years before the events of the reimagined Battlestar Galactica.  As I watched the second episode I noticed something said that was so subtle I almost missed it.

Clip: Caprica – Season 1 episode 2: “Rebirth”
Sam Adama “I used to hangout here with your dad.  All the Tauron kids came here.  I’d be hopelessly trying to flirt with some guy mean while your dad would get a date with his sister. [laugh]”

Did you catch that? Because that man just said he was gay and it wasn’t a big production, it wasn’t a big coming out story, it wasn’t said in big flashing lights, it was so normalized that I didn’t even notice it at first, I actually had to go back and listen to it again because I was like, “Ohhh.”  It just was in passing, how it should be.

That man’s name is Sam Adama and he’s part of the main cast on Caprica.  It’s also really nice to see that he’s not stereotypically gay like we often see in queer representations on TV.  Gay men are often flamboyant and obsessed with fashion.  You might recognize these men.

[[Images of Stanford from Sex and the City, the cast of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, Will and Jack from Will and Grace.]]

But there is one teeny little problem.  Sam Adama is a murderer, he’s actually a hired hit man that’s apart of a gang.  He also isn’t your average killer in that, you know, he doesn’t dress in black and kill someone with a silencer quietly and then sneak back out of the house like we’ve come to see on television and movies.  NO, he uh, chooses to use two very large, very phallic knives, to slash open his victims in a grotesque and gruesome way.

Hollywood has a long history of making queer characters monsters and sociopaths and murderers who have no moral compass.  This trope is used in order to reinforce a fear of homosexuality.

So do you see the problem here?  On one hand you have this awesome representation of a queer character whose totally normalized in being queer, it’s not even an issue, it’s totally accepted in society and he’s not stereotypical in that way.  On the other hand, he’s kind of crazy and he’s a murderer.

Just when I want to celebrate a genuine accomplishment of Hollywood they have to  go make the queer man disturbingly evil.